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How much did Las Vegas casino CEOs earn compared to their workers last year?

Updated May 1, 2020 - 1:54 pm

Last year, Las Vegas casino CEOs made between 63 and 584 times what the median employee earned.

Recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission show where the pay gap stands between chief executives and their workers.

Here’s a look at six of Las Vegas’ largest casino operators:

MGM Resorts International: 337-to-1

Former MGM CEO Jim Murren earned a total of $13.1 million in 2019, according to a regulatory filing submitted March 27. That includes a $2 million base salary, $7 million in stock awards and other compensation.

Meanwhile, the median salary of the company’s nearly 76,000 employees — as of Oct. 1, 2017 — was $38,954, amounting to a pay ratio of 337-to-1. In other words, it would take a worker earning $38,954 per year 337 years to earn the equivalent of one year’s worth of pay for Murren.

The company’s workforce has shifted dramatically since then. The company laid off and furloughed a number of workers, offering two weeks of pay to full- and part-time employees.

Bill Hornbuckle, named acting CEO after Murren departed in March, agreed to reduce his annual minimum base salary from $1.4 million to $1.1 million and volunteered to take 100 percent of his base salary for the remainder of the year in the form of restricted stock units — to be paid in full at the end of the year — in lieu of cash.

CFO Corey Sanders and Executive Vice President John McManus also agreed to reduce their annual minimum base salaries, with Sanders’ dropping from $1.25 million to $1 million and McManus’ dropping from $850,000 to $700,000. Both agreed to take half of their base salary in the form of restricted stock units instead of cash for the remainder of 2020.

The filing said the company’s operations “have been significantly impacted by the global coronavirus” outbreak, and its compensation committee hasn’t finalized MGM’s executive compensation programs for 2020.

The company’s employee grant fund, which is supporting employees in financial hardship because of the coronavirus pandemic, has gathered more than $12.5 million and has received more than 3,000 applications for assistance.

MGM brought in a total of $12.9 billion in 2019, 10 percent more compared to $11.7 billion the previous year. Net income was $2.2 billion, nearly four times the $583 million net income in 2018.

Representatives from MGM did not respond to a request for comment.

Red Rock Resorts Ltd.: 63-to-1

In 2019, Red Rock Resorts Chairman and CEO Frank Fertitta III’s total annual compensation was nearly $2 million, while the median pay for its employees was $31,003, a 63-to-1 ratio, according to a filing from April 22.

Last month, Fertitta and Vice Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta announced that they would forgo their salaries for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Station Casinos parent company said it would offer regular pay and health benefits to all hourly and salaried full-time team members through May 15, and it has moved several hundred part-time employees to full-time status so that they can receive full benefits.

Red Rock’s net revenue was roughly $1.9 billion in 2019, up 10 percent compared with the $1.7 billion from the previous year. Net loss was $6.7 million compared to a net income of $219.5 million in 2018.

Red Rock spokesperson Michael Britt did not respond to a request for comment.

Boyd Gaming Corp.: 304-to-1

Last year, Boyd CEO Keith Smith made $9.6 million. The median annual total compensation for Boyd employees was $31,728, for a 304-to-1 pay ratio, according to a filing from March 10.

Since then, the company said it has placed most of its staff on unpaid furloughs.

Company executives will take “significant salary reductions” because of the shutdowns. All nonfurloughed members at Boyd’s corporate and property management teams are taking a salary cut, and the members of its board of directors have agreed to suspend their compensation.

Total revenue for Boyd last year was $3.3 billion, up 27 percent compared with $2.6 billion the year prior. Net income rose 37 percent between 2018 and 2019, from $115 million to $157.6 million.

Boyd spokesman David Strow declined to provide additional comment.

Las Vegas Sands Corp.: 584-to-1

An April 1 filing from Las Vegas Sands shows that the median pay of employees was $42,228 last year, while CEO Sheldon Adelson made 584 times that, with an annual total compensation of $24.7 million.

However, the 10,000 employees at the company’s Las Vegas properties — The Venetian and Palazzo — will be paid during the state-ordered closure. This includes all salaried, hourly, tipped, seasonal and on-call employees. The 1,200 employees working in the resorts’ 14 third-party restaurants also will be paid during the shutdown.

Total revenue for Sands was $13.739 billion in 2019, up 0.1 percent compared with $13.729 billion the year prior. Net income was up 12 percent between 2018 and 2019, from roughly $3 billion to $3.3 billion.

Sands spokesman Ron Reese did not return a request for comment.

Wynn Resorts Ltd.: 303-to-1

Wynn CEO Matt Maddox made $13.9 million in 2019, roughly 303 times the median annual total compensation of employees, which was $45,706, according to a Wednesday filing.

Last month, the company said it would pay all salaried, hourly and part-time U.S. employees full wages through May 15, for a total of 60 days of payroll continuance. The coverage includes more than 15,000 current Wynn and Encore employees and includes average tip compliance rate or distributed tips/tokes since the beginning of the year.

Maddox agreed to give up the remainder of his 2020 salary so the company can navigate the financial downturn resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Other top executives are forgoing 33 percent to 100 percent of their salaries in exchange for shares of company stock to offset ongoing employee payroll and other expenses.

Wynn’s revenue was $6.6 billion in 2019, down 1.6 percent compared to $6.7 billion the year prior. Net income was $311 million, down 61 percent compared with $803 million 2018.

Spokesman Michael Weaver did not return a request for comment.

Caesars Entertainment Corp.: 129-to-1

According to a Wednesday filing, Caesars CEO Tony Rodio — who took over as CEO on May 6, 2019 — had a total compensation of $4.8 million last year. The median compensation for Caesars employees in 2019 was $37,103, amounting to a 129-to-1 pay ratio.

The company announced last month that it planned to furlough roughly 90 percent of its U.S. workforce, a decision that affected tens of thousands of workers.

Caesars said it would pay furloughed employees for the first two weeks of closures, and employees can use their available paid time off after that. The company is also paying all health insurance premiums for those enrolled in the company’s health benefit plans through June 30 or their return to work, whichever comes sooner.

The casino operator launched an employee assistance program last week, funded by donations from its executives and board of directors.

Net revenue for Caesars last year was $8.7 billion, up nearly 4 percent compared with $8.4 billion in 2018. Net loss was $1.2 billion, compared with a net income of $304 million the year prior.

Spokesman Richard Broome declined to provide additional comment.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson. Las Vegas Sands operates The Venetian, Palazzo and the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas.

Contact Bailey Schulz at bschulz@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0233. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter.

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